Friday, April 13, 2018

"A Quiet Place" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movie "A Quiet Place" as well as DVDs "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Father Figures."  The Book of the Week is "Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Two or Three Things I Know About Her."]

A Quiet Place

There could be monsters in our future.

Imagine having to go barefoot everywhere, live in a basement, communicate in sign language, eat off of lettuce leaves so plates and cutlery don't make noise, play Monopoly with cloth tokens or, worse, give birth in complete silence so that you won't call attention to yourself and get eaten by a monster.

Such are the lives of the Abbott family.

It's some time in the apocalyptic future and somehow really, really ugly and scary monsters have taken over the world. There is no backstory as to how that happened, but it doesn't really matter.  They are here and now everyone has to deal. The good news is that they are blind.  The bad news is that they have very good hearing and track their prey - you - through sound, so even the slightest sound out of the ordinary can bring those monsters a calling.

Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and their three children - Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who ironically is deaf, Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) - have all worked out a routine of living in silence, but one day on an outing to pick up supplies in the deserted town Beau finds a little toy rocket ship.  Lee takes it away from him and removes the batteries, but young Regan, feeling sorry for her little brother, secretly gives it back to him not knowing that he has also grabbed those batteries.  On the way home he fires up the little rocket which makes a loud noise and as soon as that happens he is grabbed and eaten by a monster right in front of his horrified family.  These monsters are not playing!

So now it's a year later and it's just the four of them. Regan is wracked with guilt and the family is grieving but they have figured out a way to survive even though 
Evelyn is now pregnant. One wonders how that's going to work out.  Not only does Evelyn have to give birth quietly but they will have to keep the newborn baby quiet somehow. Life is not easy for the Abbotts. 

This is what I call "adult horror." 

It's slow to get started as we get to know the family and settle into their lives.  Like most horror films that bank on huge amounts of blood and gore to make you clench your armrest, this one doesn't, but that doesn't mean the film isn't scary.  It is, but what is scary is watching ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, parents trying to take care of their children against all odds. Instead of the cheap thrills of chainsaws and blood spewing everywhere, this film is all about people who could be you or I having to adjust their lives to a life of intense silence in order to survive, every day, every hour, every minute, a war of survival as they try to stave off the inevitable sound that will bring the monsters while still living their lives, loving and protecting their children. We are the Abbotts, and though it's slow going at first, once this film gets going, there are plenty of jolts to go around.

Because the family must live in silence, they communicate in sign language and there is little dialogue. There is an irony in the fact that the monsters have acute hearing and Regan is deaf, though that explains why the family knows American Sign Language and her deafness also is a plot line that plays into the ending of the film, another irony.  The silence gives the actors the opportunity to show off their acting skills, because they must rely on facial expressions and body language to express themselves and their characters and this ensemble cast is up to the job.  It isn't long before you are drawn into their world and you become part of the silence. 

Emily Blunt is wonderful here but we are used to seeing her in dramatic roles.  Such is not the case with Krasinski, who is Blunt's real life husband and who is more known for comic roles than dramatic ones, but here he holds his own with his wife. Millicent Simmonds, who made a big splash in "Wonderstuck," and who is deaf in real life, has a wonderfully expressive face, and young Jupe, who you might remember as Jack Will, Auggie's friend, in "Wonder," rounds out this impressive cast.  Oh, and the monsters do their part, too.  They are also impressive.

Krasinski stars but has also written and directed the film (screenplay co-written with Scott Beck and Bryan Woods), and this is 90 minutes of nail biting intensity, though I have to say that the ending, though empowering, was a bit too pat.  But that doesn't mean this wasn't a really, really good horror film.  It was and is one of the best.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a terrifying experience and one of the runaway hits of the year that you don't want to miss. 

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Four teenagers are pulled into a video game and must figure out how to win the game in order to get back to reality.

This is the sequel (of sorts) to the 1995 original which I have already forgotten, but homage is paid here to the first film when a kid finds the Jumanji game on a beach and gives it to a friend.  The friend puts it on a shelf where it stays until it transforms from a board game to a video game.

Fast forward to the present day where we meet Spencer (Alex Wolff), a nerdy teen who is also a nervous germaphobe; The Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), a high school football player; Bethany (Madison Iseman), who is obsessed with selfies; and Martha (Morgan Turner), the smart girl who really wishes she was a hottie like Bethany.  All four of them find themselves in detention together where they find the old Jumanji game which has transformed into a video game. They turn it on and when the game tells them to choose their avatars, they do, but instead of just playing the game, they are pulled into the video and become the game.  

Spencer has transformed into Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson). 
True to his name, Bravestone looks like a dashing character known for his brave exploits and smoldering look.  Unfortunately, in real life Spencer is a scaredy cat. The academic Martha has become sexy Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan); the big, tall football player Fridge is now the short, wimpy Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Kevin Hart); and Bethany, thinking Shelly was a girl's name chose Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) as her avatar, not realizing that Shelly was a male cartography professor. Right from the moment they all start the game they are fending off monsters and on the run from bad guys.  I knew detention was bad but not this bad.

They eventually figure out the point of the game: to lift the curse of the Jewel of Jumanji and return it to it's rightful place.  It had been stolen by the evil Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) from the eye of the jaguar statue and a curse fell over the land.  The four must use their skills to return the jewel to the jaguar's eye and thus get themselves out of the game and back to reality.

"Return the jewel and lift the curse!"

Directed by Jake Kasdan with a screenplay based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the film showcases a series of comic adventures as the four seek to find the jewel and return it to the statue, but it's also the story of four diverse school kids who would never have been friends in real life, but just as the four game characters have their own strengths and weaknesses, so, too, do the real life kids and they all come to know and respect each other for those differences. 

The actors all do a good job of playing their characters within their characters.  Despite their video game personas, we never forget who they are in real life.  For example, Jack Black may look like a chubby professor but the self-absorbed fifteen-year-old Bethany is still apparent. Kevin Hart is, well, Kevin Hart, a particular favorite of mine.  His double takes, wide-eyed expressions of fear and mumbling asides under his breath always make me laugh. Karen Gillen, who I remember as Nebula in the last "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie pulls her weight here, which isn't easy with those two comedic power houses to deal with.  

And then there's The Rock.  I am fundamentally opposed to body-builders and wrestlers becoming actors and leading men.  It's just wrong so I have never wanted to like Dwayne Johnson but, darn it, I can't help it.  He is just so damn likable and self-deprecating, and he is very good at these action films. Here he does a good job of looking like a he-man but reminding us that he is really the nerdy and fearful Spencer.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you can suspend disbelief, it's a lot of fun.

Father Figures (2017)

When two fraternal twins find out their mother has been lying to them about who their father was, they hit the road to try to find their real Dad.

It can be quite a shock to realize that not only the man you thought was your Dad wasn't really your Dad, but also that your mother was kind of a slut.

Such was the case for Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) when their mother (Glenn Close) tells them that she had lied about their Dad.  He didn't die when they were young.  She just told them that because she wasn't sure who their Dad was.  Hey, it was the 70's!  When they find this out, Peter and Kyle, who up until now had not been that close and had lived very different lives, embark on a comic odyssey to find their real Dad.

Peter is a doctor but he's not happy and it doesn't help that he's a proctologist and has to deal with a**holes all day long - literally.  He is divorced and his own son doesn't even really like him.  He's a lonely guy and a bit of a sad sack.

However, Kyle is living the good life in Hawaii.  He is the face of a BBQ product that has made him millions.  He is the opposite of Peter.  He's happy and positive.  The two come together for their mother's wedding and that's when they discover their Dad was not who they thought he was.  In fact their mother tells them their real Dad is ex-football star Terry Bradshaw.

So it's a road tripping buddy film as the two brothers fly and drive across country to try to find their real Dad.  Kyle lists their top mission: Find Dad.  However, Kyle also has what he calls some sub missions - Get Peter laid followed by eating some salt water crabs and swimming with dolphins.

First stop, Terry Bradshaw.  Peter couldn't be happier.  A real life Hall of Fame football player is his Dad!  When they meet Terry, Terry remembers their Mom, thinks it's possible that Peter and Kyle could be his sons, embraces them, and invites them over to his house where they all bond. However, they soon discover that Terry is not their Dad and so, disappointed, they are on to the next possibility: Roland Hart (J.K. Simmons).  

Roland lives with his Mom, played by June Squibb (If you need an actress to play a foul-mouthed old lady, she's your gal) and paints himself as a repo man, but is in fact a car thief, and when the brothers accompany him to a "job," they get embroiled in the theft of a Ferrari, Roland ends up in the hospital and they discover their blood types don't match so possible-Dad number 2 - nope.

On to possible Dad #3 - who turns out to be a dead cop.

And so it goes.

In the meantime, there is a funny scene when the brothers pick up Katt Williams, an amiable hitchhiker.  They make him swear he's not a serial killer and then tie him up in the back seat just to make sure.  

Oh, and Peter finally gets laid.

I have to say, I know that fraternal twins don't necessarily look alike but Owen Wilson and Ed Helms are not even in the realm of familial possibility.  But maybe that was the joke and I just missed it. Wilson has made a name for himself playing happy-go-lucky and often irritating surfer dudes and here he is again.  He is a likable actor so I don't really have a problem with him.  But Ed Helms?  I just don't get him at all.  Maybe it has something to do with his teeth.

Directed by Lawrence Sher with a screenplay by Justin Malen, once again here I am with hopes high, watching a comedy and... I don't think I laughed. More and more I am questioning my sense of humor.  Why?  Because I never find any of these newer comedies to be very funny.  They are rife with old ladies saying inappropriate sexual things, pratfalls, and cheap puerile humor, not to mention far-fetched scenarios. For example, for all of the predicaments the brothers found themselves in - stealing cars, getting hit by a train, Peter thinking he has slept with his sister - there are no consequences for any of it. 

But, my peeps, in the interests of not becoming redundant in my bitching about the state of comedies in the world, I have decided to lower my standards. I will try to at least chuckle a couple of times.

Rosy the Reviewer says...So I will say, I didn't hate this film.  Katt Williams made me chuckle a couple of times.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

148 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967)

Only Godard could tell the story of a bored Parisien housewife/prostitute (Marina Vlady) and manage to work in the Vietnam War and the evils of commercialism.

The film is narrated in a whisper, as if the narrator is telling us things we aren't supposed to know.  The movie is already irritating me.

Director Jean-Luc Godard was a huge influence on many American directors, but sometimes when I watch movies like this, movies that are so far beyond comprehension that you must dig deep to figure out the point, I can't help but think that the director is having a laugh at our expense and there really isn't a point.

From what I can figure, this film is about the Vietnam War, the evils of commercialism and TV, we are all slaves to the industrial complex
and we are all going to die.  Godard also doesn't seem to like women much. He also likes to use the Brechtian technique of distancing us from the actors and reminding us that that is fiction. I found it to be unwatchable.  

I had to drink way more wine than usual to get through this film.  It's one thing to try to use film to make a statement, to educate, even be poetic but when you create a film that requires that I spend more time trying to figure out what the hell is going on than enjoying the story or caring about the characters, then what is the point? And speaking of telling a story, there really isn't one. It's just people going about their boring mundane lives living lives of quiet desperation. But does a movie have to be boring to make the point that most of us live boring lives?  Do I have to be made to feel desperate while watching this to understand that most of us are?  Even if I understood what was going on here, the film would still not be enjoyable.  For me, a film needs to be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience on some level at least.  And this wasn't.

Why it's a Must See: "[This film] is one of several ...Godard films that take prostitution as a metaphor for life in the modern capitalist state.  For Godard, a woman selling herself for money provides a perfect image of how what is most personal and life-enhancing --the sexual act -- becomes, like everything else, a commodity.  The human being becomes alienated from herself, a mere thing to be bought and sold."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Godard's movies are lovely to look at but this felt like an in-your-face blatant diatribe about commercialism and human stupidity.  I didn't need to sit through 90 minutes of this to figure that out, though I felt stupid watching it.  Eight of his films made the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book. I just don't get it.  Godard supposedly didn't work from a screenplay but rather improvised as he went along.  It shows. 

And I never did find out the two or three things...

Rosy the Reviewer says...I have one more Godard I need to see as part of my "1001 Movies" project and then I am done with Godard!

***Book of the Week***

Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman (2018)

The inner workings of "The Bachelor" revealed!

How is it that a 69-year-old long-time-married woman finds herself reading a book by a 32-year-old single woman and agreeing with her on everything?  What could those two possibly have in common?  Why the same guilty pleasure as millions of others: "The Bachelor!"

Kaufman clears up many questions and suspicions and I learned some things that I didn't know, though not as much as I had hoped.  Mainly what I learned was that I already knew way more about "The Bachelor" than I should.

What I suspected:

  • The producers do ask the Bachelor to keep on certain women who are "good TV," even if they don't have a chance at the Final Rose.

  • Producer Mike Fleiss is related to the notorious Hollywood Madam, Heidi Fleiss.  They are cousins. Must be something in their genes that tells them how to market what people crave: love and sex.

  • Yes, there is sex in The Fantasy Suite. Duh.

What I learned:

  • The Bachelor Mansion is called Villa de la Vina and is located near where the Kardashians live and is owned by Marshall Haraden.  He and his family live there ten months out of the year and leave when production for "The Bachelor" is underway.  Twice a year the production staff removes everything from the house and then spends two weeks setting everything up the way they want it including repainting the walls and adding props - big lanterns, stone sculptures and over-sized candlesticks are popular. 

  • The big room in the Mansion where everyone hangs out is called "The Mixer Room" and the foyer that leads to it is called the "Tink Tink Spot," because that's where Chris Harrison stands and taps the glass to get everyone's attention.

  • Believe it or not, the Mansion only has three bedrooms and contestants sometimes sleep in bunk beds twelve to a room.  Everyone does their own laundry and cooking and absolutely no distractions are allowed - no TV, no books, no computers.  And the contestants have to bring all of their own clothes.

  • The editing process is done by staffers who never have any interaction with cast members.  Loggers - employees who watch the raw footage - transcribe it all and give it to the story producers who tell the editors how they want an episode to go and then "Frankenbiting" is used to create certain narratives.  A "Frankenbite" is a sound bite that has been re-cut so that it has a different meaning.  For example, if the Bachelor says "I do not want to go on a date with Mary," an editor can take out the words "do not" and change it to "I want to go on a date with Mary."  Just think of the possibilities there!

  • Warner Brothers has a whole consumer line of Bachelor products - wine, candy and the "Will You Accept This Rose?" Bento Box.

Kaufman imposes a little armchair psychology to the whole proceedings:

"I think we watch The Bachelor because we're anxious about our own love lives, and the show gives us an outlet to express our fears about the modern dating world.  It allows us to see a world filled with courtship, chivalry, and romance -- and while we may scoff at the helicopters and hot tubs, deep down I think many of us still long for those kinds of things while we're spending hours swiping left on Tinder."

Rosy the Reviewer says...well, like I said, Kaufman is 32 and single but that certainly doesn't explain what I'm doing watching "The Bachelor!" If you just can't bring yourself to watch every week, check out Reality Steve.  He has the whole thing figured out before it even airs. 

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 

for my review of 

"Isle of Dogs"

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 
I Die Project." 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to copy and paste or click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

Friday, April 6, 2018

"Tyler Perry's Acrimony" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "Tyler Perry's Acrimony" as well as DVDs "Pitch Perfect 3" and "The Disaster Artist."  There are two Books of the Week this week - Good Housekeeping's "Simple Cleaning Wisdom" and "Simple Household Wisdom."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Ride Lonesome."]

Tyler Perry's Acrimony

A woman with an anger problem thinks her husband is cheating on her.  Not a good combo.

Taraji P. Henson was robbed.  

She was the heart and soul of "Hidden Figures," but didn't even get an Oscar nod for a movie that was one of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees for 2017. Though she made a name for herself as the tough over-the-top Cookie on the hit TV show "Empire," there was not a sign of Cookie in her performance as real life mathematician Katherine Johnson and she brought humor and poignancy to the role.  I loved her in that movie. However, since then she has gone back to the more "Cookie-like" characters with the recent "Proud Mary" and now this one.

When we first see Melinda (Taraji), she is in court and being ordered by a judge to stay away from her ex-husband, Robert (Lyriq Bent) and his soon-to-be wife, Diana (Crystle Stewart) and to seek counseling for anger management, so during the course of the counseling Melinda tells her story in flashback.

Melinda met Robert in college and, though she was slow to warm to him, they eventually got together.  Robert's obsession was designing a self-charging battery and for some reason that seemed to get in the way of his getting a job. He also has no family to speak of and lived in an RV.  Melinda's two sisters were less than thrilled with Robert and gave Melinda a hard time about him.  When Melinda's mother died, Melinda inherited her mother's house and $750K and, then, all of a sudden Robert needed a new car, help with his tuition and money to put into his battery invention.  

Robert comes off as a kind of a sleazy type and we start to worry about our Melinda and what she has gotten herself into, especially when she catches him cheating on her with Diana in his RV.  However, here is where we get a little insight into Melinda's anger issues - she rams his RV with her truck, not once, but twice! - and knocks it over!

But we women are ever forgiving and despite this incident Melinda takes Robert back and they get married, but Melinda can't quite shake the feeling that Robert is cheating on her and using her for money, especially since her two sisters are constantly fueling the fire.  Robert and Melinda go through some hard times, with Melinda having to work multiple jobs but eventually the money runs out, she loses her mother's house because Robert asked her to mortgage it and his battery has gone nowhere. They eventually divorce but, wouldn't you know, right after that, Robert's battery hits it big with the help of his old lover, Diana, who just happens to work at the very company Robert has been lobbying to buy his invention.

Well, let me tell you this.  That does not sit well with Melinda! And all of a sudden, things take a turn, and we start to wonder if perhaps things are not quite right with our Melinda.

Tyler Perry likes to put his name on his films, and I guess I don't blame him, since he writes, directs and produces them.  This one is no exception.  Though the story pulls you in, it's a strange little film that plays like a Lifetime Movie and though I mostly enjoyed it, I had some issues with it.

First of all, I wasn't sure if this was a drama or a comedy.  

Oh, I know Perry meant this to be a drama but at times it was so over-the-top dramatic, it made me laugh. I even laughed at the end and I don't think I was supposed to, but you never know.  Perry is known for his Madea comedies, and some of the stuff in this movie was so outrageous I started to think maybe he was putting us on.  As the movie progressed, I started to think that maybe Melinda was a young Madea.

Also, though I liked the idea of a younger actress playing the younger Melinda (Ajiona Alexus), though Taraji could have probably pulled that off, and likewise a younger actor playing the young Robert (Antonio Madison), it was quite distracting when Taraji and Bent stepped in as the older versions of the characters and Robert appeared to have grown about a foot! The young Robert was the same height as the younger Melinda but the older Robert was about a foot taller than Taraji.  I don't think college guys usually grow a foot after college, do they?  

Finally, if you see the film, please answer these questions for me: Why was the house and money left only to Melinda, the youngest daughter and why didn't the sisters seem to care? And at the end, how did Melinda get on the boat and how did the crew get back on so fast after they all jumped off?

I know those may seen like minor things, but when I watch a film, I notice plot holes and continuity issues and when I notice them they throw me off and mar my ability to really get into a film.  My mind keeps going back to them...mmm, why did Melinda's mother leave everything to just her?

Though this is melodrama of the highest order, I love Taraji and enjoyed seeing her tear up the scenery though I would like to see her do more subtle serious roles like she did in "Hidden Figures," because as an actress she has a vulnerability and warmth that doesn't come through when she is playing bad asses.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a Lifetime movie on steroids!

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)

The Barden Bellas are older now and have all gone their separate ways, but reunite for a USO tour and the usual over the top shenanigans ensue.

Why do I keep doing this to myself?

Yet another sequel that reminds me why I hate sequels. I didn't really like the first one, though at least at the time, it felt new, original and fun, but it certainly didn't warrant a sequel and the sequel was just a rehash of the first one.  Now we have #3 and, though it's not a rehash of the first two, it's worse and had me begging the powers that be that this please, please, please be the last one.

The film starts with a cold opening and I was trying to be positive, thinking, OK, maybe this won't be so bad. I will give it a chance.  Beca (Anna Kendrick) and the other Bellas are on a cruise ship doing a routine when it becomes apparent that they are performing under duress.  Then Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) shows up, does some karate chops and they all jump off the boat in a flurry of explosions and all of a sudden it seemed like we and the Bellas were in the middle of a spy-thriller.  Flash back to three weeks earlier to discover how they ended up there.  I already didn't care.

Beca and Fat Amy are back and living together.  Fat Amy has been making a living playing Fat Amy Winehouse and Beca has just quit her job.  So why not join The Bellas to reunite for one last time on a USO tour of Italy, Greece and the South of France and, of course, this wouldn't be a Pitch Perfect movie if there wasn't a rival singing group to compete against and so there is one with the unfortunate name "Ever Moist," a girl group that - gasp! - actually plays musical instruments!

Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are also back as Gail and John, the snide judges who this time are doing a documentary on the Bellas (not sure why), so they tag along on the USO tour. DJ Khaled is also there and he looks like he is wondering why.  Turns out the groups are all vying to become his opening act, though I wonder what his fans would think with an a cappella group opening for him. 

To complicate matters even more, Fat Amy's long-lost Dad, Fergus (John Lithgow) shows up and Amy is happy until she discovers what he is really up to. He is an Australian mafioso after Amy's money, and that is the crux of the film which deteriorates into an inexplicable melee that involves thousands of bees and a fire. 

Watching this film I couldn't help but ask "Why?" - I think I said that aloud several times - and to say "Please Lord, don't let there be a 'Pitch Perfect 4' and if there is hold me down so I don't order it from Netflix.  I don't want to have to endure any more lines of dialogue like this: 

"We will be clinging to you like mom jeans to a camel toe."

Rebel Wilson's ability to go for it, to do whatever is necessary to get a laugh, can sometimes be funny but unfortunately the fat jokes and inappropriate comments wear thin after awhile.  And I know this is an unpopular stance, but I don't really think Anna Kendrick can sing.  I think she has a really nasally singing voice that I find irritating. Not a fan.

Though there is lots of catchy music to bop to, the story written by Kay Cannon and Mike White and directed by Trish Sie, is so ridiculous and not funny that you stop listening to the music and ask yourself what the hell you are doing watching this film. Mike, what happened?  You wrote such a lovely screenplay for "Brad's Status." 

Makes me sad to say that the best moment in the film was seeing one of the Bellas wearing a pair of bedroom slippers that I own!  I am a discerning movie- goer. I notice stuff like that.

Rosy the Reviewer says...thank the Lord, this is the last one.  It IS the last one, right?

The Disaster Artist (2017)

The true story of the making of "The Room," a cult favorite film now hailed as one of the worst movies ever made.
The film begins in San Francisco in 1998.  Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) are both in an acting class together and when Tommy does an over the top interpretation of Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire," Greg is drawn to him.  The two move to LA and when acting jobs are few and far between they decide to make their own movie.

Tommy is a rich and mysterious guy who says he is from New Orleans but his accent belies that.  No one knows much about him, where his money comes from or even how old he is.

He has also clearly never made a movie before and you wonder if he has actually ever seen one.  He is absolutely clueless about making a film e.g. he films in 35mm and HD at the same time and buys cameras rather than renting them.

Most of the film is about the making of the movie, recreating scenes for comic effect, but I think it would have helped if I had seen the original movie first.

Directed by Franco (James) with a screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (based on the book Sestero wrote about making the film), the film is mostly enjoyable because of the performances.  James Franco, with that big smile of his, has some acting mannerisms he usually relies on, but his Tommy is far from anything you have ever seen him do before but, that said, ironically the film plays a bit like a one joke movie, the joke being Tommy himself, with his weird accent, long hair and total lack of self awareness and talent. So sadly, despite the fact that I give Franco props for his portrayal, the character of Tommy annoys after awhile and, since we never find out anything about his motivations or even his life, the film is ultimately unsatisfying. 

But don't miss the end credits where they show side-by-side scenes from the real movie next to the ones recreated here.

Rosy the Reviewer says...James Franco as you have never seen him.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

149 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Ride Lonesome (1959)

One of those westerns where a bounty hunter is trying to get a bad guy back to town for trial and a bunch of bad guys are trying to stop him.

My Dad loved westerns and Randolph Scott was one of my Dad's favorite actors, and he is, indeed, a perfect Western hero though in this one he is starting to get a little long in the tooth.  Here he has what I consider one of the all-time great names for a Western hero:  Ben Brigade.  

Ben is escorting Billy John (James Best) back to Santa Cruz to face judgment and unwillingly takes on three companions - Mrs. Carrie Lane, a station master's wife (Karen Steele in the 50's Western staple - the push-up bra)) and a couple of bad guys, Sam and Whit (Pernell Roberts and James Coburn, both in early phases of what would be long acting careers) who are plotting to rob Brigade of Billy John.  And to make matters worse, Billy John's brother, Frank (Lee Van Cleef) is also in hot pursuit to free his brother.

I am not much of a western fan these days.  I think I OD'd in the 50's and 60's when westerns thrived on TV: "Bonanza," "Have Gun Will Travel," "Gunsmoke," and so many more, all regulars in our house because my Dad always secretly wanted to be a cowboy.  But I don't really know why I don't like them.  Westerns are just regular stories of love, drama and crisis except with horses and women wearing push-up bras.  

This film actually starts out one way and takes a dark turn when Brigade tells the story of what happened to his wife and he gets his revenge. You see, Brigade had some other things in mind besides the bounty and the film ends with an unforgettable image.

One of seven westerns directed by Budd Boetticher with a script by Burt Kennedy, it was the first of Boetticher's films to utilize Cinemascope and the film is beautiful to look at.

But these old westerns are so politically incorrect I just don't know where to begin, but I think I know why westerns were, and in some cases, still are so popular. It has something to do with "Make America Great Again."  Men were men, women knew their place, white men ruled the world and always beat the Native Americans in a fight, and it was easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys (good guys wore white hats and bad guys wore black hats). I guess some people think those were easier times.

Randolph Scott is a great western hero - handsome, stoic and a man of few words while Lee Van Cleef (who went on to become a famous bad guy in Clint Eastwood's spaghetti westerns), Pernell Roberts (who became famous on TV for "Bonanza" and "Trapper John MD") and James Coburn (who went on to many bigger film projects) made great villains in this film with a twist.

Why it's a Must See: "The seven Westerns Budd Boetticher made with leading man Randolph Scott are notable for Scott's wry, laconic, weather-beaten virtuousness, colorful secondary characters, visual gracefulness, stark, abstract landscapes, and a muted but aching sense of tragedy."

---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like the old westerns, this is a good one!

***Books of the Week***

It's a two-for-one this week!

Good Housekeeping Simple Cleaning Wisdom: 450 Easy Shortcuts for a Fresh & Tidy Home (Simple Wisdom 2018)

Good Housekeeping Simple Household Wisdom: 425 Ways to Clean & Organize Your Home (Simple Wisdom 2016)

We can all use some tips on keeping our living spaces livable, right?

Books like this can serve a couple of different purposes: 1) you can bask in the fact that you are doing everything right or 2) you can learn some stuff or 3) you can realize what you have been doing wrong.

So I have divided this review into three categories:

Duh, I knew that (doesn't everyone)?

  • Keep supplies handy
  • Declutter before you clean
  • Use a shredder
  • Test paint on the wall before buying
  • If you want to iron less, take clothes out of the dryer and hang them up while still damp

I did not know that... 

  • Don't wash windows on a sunny day (they get streaky)
  • Let your cleaner do the work - watch how hotel maids do it.  They spray the tub or shower with cleaner and then go do something else so while they are doing something else the cleaner is doing it's job and when they return it's easier to clean
  • For a more efficient dishwasher, run hot water into the sink before starting your dish washer to get rid of any cold water in the pipes
  • Dish towels are the most contaminated items in the kitchen, so I guess that means wash them regularly
  • Placing newspapers in stinky shoes will eliminate the smell

and finally

Oops! (I've been doing it wrong)

  • Don't store your iron with the water in it
  • Don't spray furniture polish directly on the furniture
  • Don't flush the toilet with the lid up (the water sprays all over the room - ew)!
  • Don't wear shoes in the house - have your house shoes to avoid dragging in dirt.
  • Don't wash your car with dish soap

If you want to know why we should heed these do's and don'ts and get more tips, you will just have to check out these books!

Since Good Housekeeping has their "Seal of Approval," both books recommend cleaning tools and products to make our cleaning lives easier.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I will leave you with this bit of advice from Comedienne Phyllis Diller which echoes my cleaning philosophy: "The best way to get rid of kitchen odors is to eat out!"

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 

for my review of 

"A Quiet Place"

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 
I Die Project." 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to copy and paste or click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.